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Trio unveil plans for ‘world’s first’ remotely controlled commercial tug

Svitzer, Kongsberg Maritime and the American Bureau of Shipping are to jointly develop the RECOTUG, which will be fully operated from a shore-based operations centre.

The aim of the RECOTUG project is to develop a remotely controlled tug that will be able to perform a full towage operation with all operations controlled remotely. The solution will then require class and flag approval and the intention is that Svitzer will eventually conduct commercial remote tug operations in the Port of Copenhagen.

The project builds on the first Svitzer/Kongsberg Maritime (formerly Rolls-Royce Marine) project announced in 2017, which focused on remotely operated navigation of the Svitzer Hermod tug in the Port of Copenhagen.

As a result of the project, the companies conducted a number of remotely controlled, non-towage specific manoeuvres on water. The near-shore environment of harbour towage, where Svitzer operates, is well-suited for remote controlling which requires full connectivity.

Ingrid Uppelschoten Snelderwaard, Svitzer’s global COO, commented: ‘While we are still several years away from seeing remotely operated tugs with no crew on board in commercial operation, there is no doubt that advanced autonomy is progressing fast across the maritime industry.

At Svitzer, we are determined to be at the forefront of the innovation in this space to ensure we are well positioned to meet changing demands. We start with one tug and explore from there how to best leverage technology, improve safety and efficiency and meet our customer’s demand for reliable and cost-efficient services, also in the future.

She concluded: ‘Technology is changing our lives across the board and at Svitzer we want to influence and drive how technology will transform towage over time. Safety comes first, and this entire project is first and foremost relying on the implied safety case.’

Lesley Bankes-Hughes

Lesley Bankes-Hughes

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